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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Acanthus sennii is My Favorite Plant...This Week

Three or four years ago, I got an interesting looking plant with foliage resembling a ruffled Ilex (holly) as an impulse buy (That's an old song.)  at Cistus Nursery in Oregon. Who could resist this cute little plant that bore the name Acanthus.  Really?  It sure didn't look like any Acanthus I'd ever grown or seen before.  In that time it has emerged from the ground and grown beautifully to about a foot high or so.  Because it dies to the ground for me and emerges a tad later than most things around it, I'm always surprised to see it.

The leaves are a bit prickly but also pliable so they only look dangerous.


I knew something was up when this year when two or three stems started growing like mad in September.  They are now four feet tall.  What could it be?  Well, it decided to bloom for the first time!  Very exciting to see the buds and now...

Bright orange/red blooms!


Plant Lust lists this as a semi-everegreen shrub hardy in zones 8a to 10b with a height of 3'-5'.

Here's some more information stolen from Plant Lust:

Soil:  Well-Drained, Rich
Water: Even Moisture, Occasional, Drought Tolerant
Sun:  Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade


To see more pictures,  entertaining descriptions, and nurseries that carry  this Ethiopian native, click on over to Plant Lust.  To see more plant favorites this week visit Danger Garden.  Happy weekend all!  

21 comments:

  1. This plant satisfies both spiky and lush 'n leafy lovers :)

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  2. Fab foliage AND flowers! Who could resist that combo? I love it.

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  3. Mine has never bloomed, I am jealous. As for the leaves only looking dangerous don't ever try to pick up dried leaves barehanded, ouch! (I found this out yesterday).

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    1. The bloom was a total surprise and due to nothing that I did. Thanks for the warning about picking up dry leaves.

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  4. I have a love hate relationship with Acanthus mollie. It looks amazing but I found out the hard way how difficult it is to get rid of. And here you go introducing this sennii, looking so beautiful with it's rare orangey flowers, and I start considering adding it to my garden. What's wrong with me?

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    1. Ain't nothing wrong with you Chav! You just like plants like the rest of us addicts!

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  5. Such an unexpected color for an Acanthus!

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    1. Shocking isn't it? I'd have never thought...

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  6. Mine bloomed twice last year and not at all this year. Still, I'm happy that it survived last winter and can live to bloom another day. It's a pretty interesting plant even without flowers.

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    1. Wow! Twice blooming? You're magic! You're right, the foliage alone is reason enough to invite this into the garden!

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  7. Well would you look at that. So worth the wait, wasn't it? I love it.

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    1. It was a sweet surprise to see it bloom but the foliage alone is lovely!

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  8. I brought a couple acanthus home from Cistus but unfortunately not this one. I don't see it listed currently either. You are a most favored gardener to see the bloom!

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    1. Interesting that Cistus doesn't list it. Sometimes they don't have enough of certain plants to add them to the list but if you call or email they might have one they might part with. You never know. Might be worth a call. I feel very lucky to have seen the bloom which is proving to be quite long-lasting.

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  9. A red-flowered acanthus?!!! MUST. HAVE. NOW. I have long been fond of Acanthus mollis, Acanthus spinosus, and Acanthus hungaricus and no idea this even existed.

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    1. It was new to me when I saw it at Cistus and doesn't look like any other acanthus. Check out Plant Lust as they list a couple of nurseries that both carry it and do mail order.

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  10. An Acanthus of a different color. Very nice!

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  11. Love this! Just rooted a cutting from a friend.
    Are you on Facebook?

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.